How Can Parents Help Their Children Prepare For SATs?

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Paul Ainsworth

Paul has been writing for the Teacher Toolkit website since 2012 and is the author of 'No Silver Bullets: Day in, day out school improvement'. He is a system leader supporting primary schools, secondary schools and MATs currently with with Infinity Academies Trust as Education...
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How can we help parents get SATs-ready?

Action stations. SATs – love them or loathe them, they are nearly here. It’s not just children that need our help either.

You may have been asked to write a letter to parents of children in Year 6 as to how they can best prepare for the Key Stage 2 SATS.

You may be a parent and wondering what you can do to help your child.

Whichever position you are, I hope the following helps.

How can I prepare my child for their SATs?

Dear Parents,

Year 6 (and Year 2) teachers across the country are working incredibly hard to prepare your children for their SATs. In fact some parents say, there is too much focus!

You’ll hear parents talking about the SATs in the playground and maybe worried about how you should help your child.

More importantly when your child comes home it almost inevitable that they will talk about the SATs and you will want to know what to say.

At Key Stage 2, your child will be very aware of the preparation they are doing not only in the school day but some schools will be using before school and after school to give even more support to children. At Key Stage 1 it will be much more low key.

As a parent it is good to be able to respond to any concerns or questions your child may have about their SATs but we must try not to put them under pressure.

Instead we wish to reassure them that they do not need to worry about taking the tests.

The following ideas can help you support your child. It is important to stress you do not need to do any tests with your child.

11 tips for helping with SATs preparation.

  1. Talk about the SATs and tell them not worry about them. The school will also do this, too, but it makes a bigger impact if school and parents do this together. Children perform best when they are relaxed.
  2. Reading is a key part of primary education so keep encouraging daily reading whether your child reads on their own or if you read together. Discuss the books, the characters, the storylines and encourage your child to express their own opinions on the book. This is important to their long term development as well as SATs test.
  3. Play mental games when you are on the way home whether you are walking or driving. Playing card games, Uno, Monopoly and dominoes all help with Maths. Whereas games like hangman, Boggle or Scrabble will support with literacy,
  4. You can buy test papers and work through them with your child. There are a wide range available to buy and some schools send them home too. Your child will be doing lots of tests in school so only do more if your child enjoys their challenge. If your child doesn’t like them, it is counter productive to force them to do more.
  5. If you are searching for SATs paper on the internet, remember there are a limited number of new style SATs papers as they only began in 2016. It is best to avoid looking at these with your child as your school will use them for practice. For additional free Maths papers you could look at what Third Space Learning have to offer.
  6. There are lots of revision guides available to buy. You do not have to get one but if your child is reassured by having a book why not choose one together.
  7. Try to keep everything else running normally. So whether its sport, music lessons or Scouts and Guides; sticking to your normal routine of out of school activities demonstrates to your child that SATs are not the be and end all of year 6.
  8. During the SATs week, whilst keeping to normal timetable, try to avoid late nights, as children will find sitting the tests tiring.
  9. Try to make sure your child has some fresh air when they come home from school on test days.
  10. Keep it in proportion. They are primary-school tests to gauge the education in the school and do not affect the secondary school your child will go to.
  11. Stay positive. Many children enjoy taking the tests as they see it as a challenge and like the importance and the feeling of being special that SATs give year 6.

Remember you do not have to more tests with your child or teach them. The most important thing is to give your child lots of praise as they will be doing their very best.

The best praise is when you tell them how hard they have worked or tried rather than for the score they have achieved. If they feel they have not got a good score in their practices, the important word here is ‘yet’, they haven’t got a good score yet!

Good luck.

3 thoughts on “How Can Parents Help Their Children Prepare For SATs?

  1. Since these tests have absolutely no benefit at all for children and can even lead to stress and anxiety, is it not a little irresponsible to tell parents they can get practice SATS papers?

  2. Yes, I agree. Children have enough practice of how to take the test at school, they don’t need to be looking at past papers at home as well. Also, past papers are often used for teacher summative assessments, it can cause massive problems if a child has already completed one of the few past papers at home. Making sure that homework is thoroughly completed would be a better use of parents time.

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